I have advocated for this before in the past, but many people don’t take this advice seriously because they’re concerned about losing the money. They’re afraid that cutting a client lose, even when that client is completely terrible to work with, that they won’t be able to replace the income.
This means that you are approaching your entire client relationship out of fear – this could jeopardize your ability to grow your business and succeed.
Jump Feet First
I’ve found that firing clients when they’re not the right fit for me and letting the project go, enables my time and energy to immediately be shifted to a newer and better opportunity. Every single time, a better client has come along and offered me the chance to work for them. Usually, this ends up being a client who has reasonable expectations and pays more money.
When you fire clients, it seems counter-intuitive that you would actually be able to land new clients right away. But that’s the way it works. You have made a firm decision and drawn a line in sand that you are not going to work with people who are difficult or people who do not value your time. Letting go of less-than-ideal clients is never going to get easier.
Trust your Instinct
You’re are always going to question yourself. But in time, you’re going to feel more confident about your decision.
Yes, you put a lot of time to land that client and earn their trust in a working relationship. It can be devastating and cause you to question yourself when you need to let that client go. There’s even a good chance that the client will push back and not want to be fired, trying to make things easier for you so that you’ll stay.
That means that the client knows they have a good thing going, and don’t want to risk losing it. Regardless, there’s a good chance that they’ll continue to treat you poorly, not pay your invoices on time, call you at all hours, or give you assignments that have unclear expectations. In this particular situation, you have got to trust your gut.
If this is not somebody you want to work with, you need to let them go.
Focus your time, energy, and expertise on someone who truly values it.
You need to have faith that another client will come along, and that client will be better for you. You’re good at what you do, and you deserve better clients. Determine who your ideal clients are, and map out strategies to get the perfect customer that fits in with your work culture.
It took me some time to get a roster of the most ideal clients. However, it makes my work more pleasurable when I only work with people that I enjoy working with.
This meant turning down some major contracts, including a $5000 retainer and a $70,000 job that would have put me back in the position of being an employee. However, I don’t regret any of those decisions. Had I taken those jobs, I would have been closed off to some of the other great opportunities that have come my way.
At the end of the day, I am thankful for keeping the clients I enjoy working with.